Jim Tapako investments is a Papua New Guinean owned business that has contracts in the highlands. Its twenty five trucks carry cargo to the Pogera mine and to Mt. Hagen.
But since last week, they have not been able to do any work. The landslips along the Simbu and Eastern Highlands sections prevented their trucks from taking cargo into the highlands.
Simon Yanda the operations Manager says, if the delays continue, it could result in workers being laid off.
“We have withdrawn our drivers,” he said. “It’s costing us more to pay for security.”
The high cost of keeping trucks like this on the road is strangling businesses like JTI.
Simon explains that the wear and tear on a single truck caused by bad road sections means they have to spend anything between six and 20,000 after every trip. It is a sizable chunk for small trucking businesses.
In Mt. Hagen yesterday, residents had to contend with a severe fuel shortages caused by the landslips in Simbu and the Eastern Highlands. Prices have risen.
Bad road conditions have plagued transport companies for years. But It has not only affected transport companies. Families travelling into the highlands also suffered from the security risks created by opportunists.